Putin to meet African leaders to discuss the Russia-Ukraine grain deal

Russian President, Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet with leaders of African countries on Saturday, June 17 in St Petersburg, according to presidential aide Yuri Ushakov.

The grain deal will be one of the key issues the leaders will discuss, he said.

Ukraine is a major exporter of sunflower, maize, wheat and barley.When Russia invaded in February 2022, its naval vessels blockaded Ukraine’s ports, trapping some 20 million tonnes of grain.

The grain deal was mediated by Turkey and the U.N and it allows Ukraine to export grain across the Black Sea.

Thanks to the agreement, more than 30 million tonnes of grain and other foodstuffs have been shipped out of the Black Sea through a safe corridor.

Russia had been threatening to pull out of the deal, saying Western sanctions were hampering its own agricultural exports. On Wednesday, June 14, Putin said he’ll be meeting with African leaders.
“African leaders are interested in the constant supply of grain to their continent, which so far has not been possible under the Istanbul deal,” Putin said, according to state media TASS.

Russia has been dissatisfied with the deal and will carefully consider a decision on whether to extend it, putin added.

Before they meet with Putin, the leaders will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday, the non-profit organization Brazzaville Foundation earlier announced.

Participating leaders of the meeting with Putin will include:

Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa
Azali Assoumani, chair of the African Union and Union of Comoros, Denis Sassou Nguesso, president of Republic of Congo, Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda, Macky Sall, president of Senegal
Hakainde Hichilema, president of Zambia .

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